Sale Sharks 13 - 15 Brive: Netherdale stages third game in three days

GALA hosted its third game in three days on its undersoil-heated pitch, after which president Colin Playfair said the club would always be willing to accommodate sides in search of a venue when possible.

However, he played down claims that Edinburgh could have played its Heineken Cup tie against Castres at Netherdale.

"Edinburgh did make an enquiry on Sunday when Newcastle Falcons and Exeter Chiefs were here, but they decided to play their game behind closed doors at Murrayfield," he said. "This is not a snub. If they had wanted to play, we would have put it on."

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He added: "As they are a Scottish club, Edinburgh would have been given first chance against other clubs, but Falcons had already asked us."

Sale and Brive each made the trip north in the freezing conditions for their Challenge Cup tie with hefty European fines in the offing if they had not fulfilled the fixture.

It was Brive's second win over Sharks in the competition, with victory coming courtesy of an 82nd-minute penalty from Julien Caminati, his fifth of the game.

Sale led 13-12 at the break with the only try from Mathew Tait, converted by Nick Macleod, who also kicked two penalties while Caminati banged over four penalties for Brive.

It looked as though Sale would hang on until Caminati's last- second penalty from 35 metres.

Playfair said: "The blanket will remain on, but there will not be another match until 27 December when Melrose are the visitors.

"At the end of the day, it is the Gala pitch and we also have to protect it. It is not an open house. I have to thank the volunteers who gave up their work to prepare the field. That takes a lot of time and effort and we really appreciate that."

Playfair did not divulge on how much Gala would benefit financially, but it is known that Falcons and Sharks would have to make a contribution towards the costs of hiring the pitch, catering and floodlighting among others.

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He added: "Gala remains our main priority, but we do our best to help everybody."